Dear Port Moody,
Some of you have been traveling with me on this journey for a while now. Some of you still may not even know. Soon, we will have five magnificent Coast Salish figures raised along the inlet from Rocky Point Park to Old Orchard. It will create a new path called, “In the Presence of Ancestors”.
Two of these house posts are almost ready to be raised. “Spirit of Kwikwetlem” carved in collaboration with kʷikʷəƛ̓əm, Brandon Gabriel Art, and Jonas Bige, and “Grandmother’s Prayer” by səlilwətaɬ artist, Zachary George.
Starting April 20th, Chrystal Sparrow from xʷməθkʷəy̓əm begins her carving at Noons Creek Hatchery. In the fall, sḵwx̱wú7mesh carver, Xwalacktun Rick Harry, and Spring of 2023 we will host a carving from qicəy̓.
We used to have monumental figures carved and raised along our shores so that when guests travelled by, they knew what family was living there and who was taking care of those parts of these Coast Salish land and waters. Some of these figures raised their hands to welcome you, while others had their own story that you would learn over time. If left to be, these figures would stand for hundreds of years. Nowadays, most of these Coast Salish figures and house posts are tucked away in museums all over the world and people have forgotten whose lands and waters they are travelling through. People have forgotten that caring for these lands and waters is all of our sacred responsibility.
“In the Presence of Ancestors” reasserts the presence of the original caretakers of these Coast Salish Lands and Waters, inviting all of us to join this legacy of ancestors and ensure a healthy future of all of our relations.
This Spring, we are focusing on Musqueam. Beginning in April, carver Chrystal Sparrow will be artist in residence. Her house post and creative process will be supported by a program of vibrant artists and Knowledge Keepers sharing Musqueam history, culture and visions for the future.
In the fall, we look forward to hosting Xwalacktun OBC from Squamish Nation. There will be a program of Squamish artists and Knowledge Keepers throughout the fall and next spring.
Tickets are available by donation on Eventbrite. Workshops will have a fee (prices TBC) and online talks are at no cost but a donation to the Port Moody Ecological Society is greatly appreciated.
These lands and waters, currently known as Port Moody, have been cared for by a long legacy of ancestors since time immemorial. These ancestors include the people of Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Səlilwətaɬ, kʷikʷəƛ̓əm, and the S’ólh Téméxw. While each of these Nations are unique with their own songs, histories, and languages, they all share in a sacred responsibility to care for the future of these lands and waters.
In partnership with the Port Moody Ecological Society, Coast Salish artist Tasha Faye Evans is curating a commission of house posts to be carved by artists from five of these Nations. This collection of house posts will be raised along Port Moody’s iconic Shoreline trail and be called, “In the Presence of Ancestors”. Each house post will raised to watch over these lands and waters and be life-long reminders to current residents of our shared and sacred responsibility to join the legacy of ancestors caring for the future of all of our relations.
As each house post is carved, the artist will be in residence at the Noons Creek hatchery and will be supported by a program of Knowledge Keepers and artists to highlight each Nation and their history in these lands.
In 2019, Brandon Gabriel carved the “Spirit of Kwikwetlem” in collaboration with Kwiwkwetlem Elders and youth. Currently, Tsleil Waututh artist Zachary George is carving “Grandmother’s Prayer”.
All house posts will be raised in ceremony by June 21, 2023.
Acknowledging that we are on the unceded, occupied, ancestral and traditional lands of the Kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish),Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations